Anabolic Steroids Anabolic steroids

are synthetic versions of the naturally occurring male sex hormone, testosterone. They are more properly called anabolic-androgenic steroids (AASs), because they have both bodybuilding (anabolic) effects and masculinizing (androgenic) effects. The masculinizing effects of testosterone cause male characteristics to appear during puberty in boys, such as enlargement of the penis, hair growth on the face and pubic area, muscular development, and deepened voice. Females also produce natural testosterone, but ordinarily in much smaller amounts than males.

AASs are sometimes referred to simply as steroids. Steroid means only that a substance either resembles cholesterol in its chemical structure or is made from cholesterol in the body. Thus, AASs are one kind of steroid. (They are not to be confused with an entirely different group of steroids called corticosteroids—of which prednisone and cortisone are examples—which are commonly used to treat illnesses such as arthritis, colitis, and asthma. In contrast to anabolic steroids, corticosteroids can cause muscle tissue to be wasted.) AASs are also referred to as ergogenic drugs, which means performance-enhancing. Street or slang terms for AASs include "roids" and ''juice.''

Soon after testosterone was first isolated and synthesized in the laboratory in 1935, a number of synthetics were created to be used as medicines. The synthetic forms were developed because natural testosterone did not work very long when given as a pill or injection (it is subject to rapid breakdown in the body). Bodybuilders may have begun using AASs to build muscle size and strength as early as the 1940s. Olympic athletes started to use these drugs in the 1950s. Most of this use went undetected, however, because the technology of drug testing did not allow reliable detection of AASs in the urine until the 1976 Olympic Games. Even so, anabolic steroids did not become a household word until Canadian sprinter, Ben Johnson, tested positive for AASs at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988. In the same year, a study reported that 6.6 percent of American male high school seniors had tried AASs. This study made it clear that elite athletes were not the only ones taking


Anabolic Steroids Used by Bodybuilders

Generic Name

Injectable testosterone esters" Testosterone eypionate

Testosterone enanthate Testosterone propionate

Representative Brand Names

Depo-Testosterone (Slang name: Depo-T), Virion IM Delatestryl

Testex, Oreton propionate

Other injectables

Nandrolone decanoate

Nandrolone phenpropionate Methenolone enanthate

Veterinary injectables used by humans Trenbolone acetate

Boldenone undecylenate Slanozolol

Deca-Durabolin (Slang names: Deca, Deca-D) Durabolin Primobolan Depot

Finaject (Finajet) 30, Parabolan Equipoise Winstrol V

Boldenone undecylenate Slanozolol

Finaject (Finajet) 30, Parabolan Equipoise Winstrol V

these drugs. By 1991, AASs were added by federal law to the list of Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule III Controlled Substances are recognized to have value as prescribed medicines, but also have a potential for abuse that may lead to either low to moderate physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Table 1 lists the names of some AASs that bodybuilders have used. Hundreds of AASs have been synthesized, and more comprehensive lists exist (Wright & Cowart, 1990; Yesalis, 2000).

Two naturally occurring steroids, dehy-droepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione, are used by the body to make testosterone and estrogen (Corrigan, 1999). The benefits and adverse effects of synthetic DHEA and androstenedi-one are mostly unknown, but they are commonly believed to have anabolic and androgenic effects. Unlike other AASs, DHEA and androstenedione are neither regulated by the Food and Drug Administration nor listed as controlled substances in the United States. DHEA has been sold over-the-counter as a nutritional supplement in the United States since 1994, even though the International Olympic Committee, many U.S. sports organizations, and some countries such as Australia ban it.

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